Who is Your Real Enemy?


I used to struggle with the more violent prayers in the Psalms, mostly of David calling down various curses upon his enemies. This didn’t sound like the prayer of a man after God’s own heart to me!

Break the Teeth of the Wicked?

The fancy label for prayers invoking God’s judgment and
wrath upon his enemies is “imprecatory.” Imprecate means to pray
evil against or invoke curses upon another—like when David asks
God to bust up his enemies’ faces.

Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

Psalm 3:7, NIV

Really? Was I supposed to pray like that about people who were giving me trouble? I didn’t think so. It’s one thing to ask to be delivered from the oppression of your enemies, but smashing their faces is something else.

I don’t think this is quite what Jesus had in mind when He told us to pray for our enemies.

How does Jesus want us to treat our enemies? #fighttherightfight Click To Tweet

Redefining My Enemy

My whole perspective shifted many years ago when I read Hind’s Feet on High Places. The way Hannah Hurnard personified the bad guys in her allegory enlightened me.

The story is about a woman named Much-Afraid and her journey with the Chief Shepherd to the Kingdom of Love. She flees the Valley of Humiliation where she lives when she is forced to marry Craven Fear who intimidates her.

Hind’s Feet on High Places

Get your own copy of this insightful allegory from Amazon. (affiliate link) It’s a beautiful classic you don’t want to miss! There’s also a version just for children so you can share the incredible journey of Much-Afraid with your youngsters.

In fact, the whole Fearing Family is against her. Her cousin, Coward, tries to choke her and discourage her from traveling with the Chief Shepherd. Gloomy guards her until she risks calling out for Mrs. Valiant to free her.

Sorrow and Suffering are her companions throughout her difficult journey, sent by the Chief Shepherd to teach her things she could not learn otherwise.

Ultimately, Much-Afraid overcomes her enemies by her love of the Chief Shepherd and His love for her.


A Different Kind of Enemy

This book opened my eyes to who my enemies really are. Now I read the violent Psalms as a metaphor for what I ask of God regarding my spiritual enemies.

My enemies are not people. My enemies are fear, sin, deceit, lies, unbelief, cowardice and the like, which all originate from our only real enemy—Satan. And I have no problem at all asking God to break his “teeth” and thwart his devouring bite.

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Pray for your enemies.
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I Have an Enemy, and It’s Not You!

When I feel that I am in conflict with another person, I remind myself, “I have an enemy, and it’s not you.” I don’t say this out loud, of course! I don’t want to freak the other person out. But it does help me to re-cage my focus to where the real battle lies and not get caught up in the diversion.

Even the kindest and most upright people on the planet are flawed. Everyone makes selfish decisions or foolish mistakes from time to time. But although you may have an argument, disagreement, or even a full-out fight with your family member or friend, he or she is not your enemy. You are both on the same team whether you acknowledge it or not.

Your real enemy is the spirit of pride, sin, deceit, or addiction that lies behind your loved one’s hurtful words and actions (as well as your own).

As long as we continue to fight against and resist other people, we are not fighting back or resisting the devil, and we are playing right into his hands. He’d love to keep us so busy arguing with each other that we don’t have the time, effort, or energy to oppose him.

Think back over the past week. Can you identify any conflicts where your passion and energy were wasted fighting with a fellow soldier instead of joining forces with him to turn against your common foe?

As long as we continue to fight against and resist other people, we are not fighting back or resisting the devil, and we are playing right into his hands. He’d love to keep us so busy arguing with each other that we don’t have the… Click To Tweet

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Will you pray this prayer with me?

Lord, I admit I get confused about who my real enemy is sometimes. Remind me in the heat of “battle” that my true enemy is never the person I disagree with or the frustrating circumstance I find myself in. My enemy is always the same one who is against you . . . the forces of evil that threaten to separate me from your perfect will. Help me fight the right fight and not get distracted by arguing with my teammates.

in jesus’ name, Amen.
I have an enemy and it's not you! #resistevil #lovepeople Click To Tweet

When are you most tempted to misidentify your enemy?

How can we remind one another to fight the right fight against our real enemy and refuse to fuss with each other?

Share your ideas in the comments below.

Who is my real enemy?
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